Women in Music 2019

The Beatles' 'Abbey Road' Returns to Top 3 on Billboard 200 Chart After Nearly 50 Years

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The former No. 1 album vaults 71-3 on the chart following its 50th anniversary reissue.

The Beatles’ former No. 1 album Abbey Road zooms back into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart for the first time since 1970, as the set vaults from No. 71 to No. 3 after the album was reissued on Sept. 27 to commemorate its 50th anniversary. It earned 81,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Oct. 3 (up 803%) with 70,000 of that sum in album sales (up 3,091%).

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multi-metric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The new Oct. 12-dated chart (where Abbey Road jumps to No. 3) will be posted in full on Billboard's websites on Oct. 8.

Abbey Road was released on Sept. 26, 1969 and spent 11 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in late 1969 and early 1970. It first reached the top of the list dated Nov. 1, 1969, and it spent its final week at No. 1 on Jan. 24, 1970.

The album continued to chart consistently through May of 1971, and then returned for a spell in 1976, and then racked up numerous weeks on the chart between 1981 and 1988. Then, from 1991 through 2009, catalog (older) albums like Abbey Road were generally ineligible to chart on the list, so Abbey Road was absent from the chart during that time. But in late 2009, after the catalog restriction was lifted, Abbey Road returned to the chart and has racked up 200 weeks on the tally since.   

With Abbey Road’s rise to No. 3 on the new chart, the album nets its first week in the top 10 since April 25, 1970 (when it ranked at No. 9) and its highest placing since March 14, 1970 (No. 3).

Abbey Road boasts familiar favorite songs like “Come Together,” “Something” (which together topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart as a double-sided single), “Octopus’s Garden,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Carry That Weight” and “The End.”

Abbey Road has proven to be an incredibly enduring album in the Beatles’ catalog, having spent a total of 329 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart (including the new chart week), which marks the most weeks on the chart for any studio album by the band. Only the group’s greatest hits set 1, released in 2000, has spent more time on the chart, with 388 weeks. Abbey Road is also the band’s largest-selling studio album in the history of Nielsen Music, as it has sold 5.6 million copies in the U.S. since the firm began electronically tracking sales in 1991. (The Beatles’ only bigger selling album since 1991 is 1, with 13 million.)

For its 50th anniversary reissue, Abbey Road was freshly mixed and in a variety of formats, many coming with an array of previously unreleased recordings and demo tracks.

Abbey Road is the latest in a series of 50th anniversary reissues from the Beatles, following the act’s self-titled set (often referred to as the White Album) in 2018 and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 2017. The White Album re-entered at No. 6 on the Nov. 24, 2018, chart following its reissue, and Sgt. Pepper’s re-entered the chart at No. 3 on the June 17, 2017-dated list after its re-release. Both albums hit No. 1 after their initial release in 1968 and 1967, respectively.

The Beatles continue to hold the record as the act with the most No. 1s in the history of the Billboard 200 chart, with 19 leaders.


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